Entering his final season in Laramie, Carl Granderson was poised for a huge senior year. Granderson pocketed 28 tackles for loss with 14.5 sacks in his first three seasons receiving First Team All-Mountain West honors in 2017 and was named to the Ted Hendricks Award final watch list.
The Wyoming defensive end finished with only three sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 11 games this season. From a box score perspective, it’s fair to say Granderson had a disappointing 2018. But comparing the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Granderson has shown vast improvements in technique and skill in his final year.
Granderson begins his path to the backfield with a near impeccable burst. He times the snap well and gets to work quickly with his initial quickness starting the pursuit. Granderson shows controlled lower body movements to keep pursuit even when contact is initiated. He plays with tremendous effort and doesn’t show a lack of prowess when being met at the point of attack.
Carl Granderson (#91, Wyoming) gave some fits to the Mizzou OL. Has an impressive initial burst and showcases some lower body flexibility to create short area quickness. A work in progress but he flashes. #SeniorBowl— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) December 11, 2018
Piece on him in the AM on @Cover_1_ pic.twitter.com/iBP8vjDeTA
Despite continually working when contact is initiated by the opposition, Granderson does show a theme of losing physical battles and failing to disengage. His initial quickness does plenty of damage if the opponent is not swift enough to counter but he can get swept up easily when contacted. This issue is not only being stagnated by contact but it is not showing a consistent way of working to become disengaged. He plays with a head of steam but his functional strength will be called to question.
Granderson has multiple ways to win as a pass rusher. He brings plenty to the table with a toolkit of pass rushing skills headlined by a common club over move. He goes to work with heavy and quick hands to overwhelm his matchup. He partners this move with clean lower body mechanics to explode into the backfield. Granderson also features a swim move, a spin move that needs to be tuned up and a shoulder dip move that shows flashes. Besides being a jack-of-all-trades in the toolkit department, Granderson wins many of his battles with short area quickness. He thrives off being able to make quick movements dodging incoming contact with loose ankles and enough lower body flexibility to outmatch linemen. His elusiveness and effort create plenty of chances to the quarterback.
Granderson shows glimpses of a complete pass-rushing toolkit but wins most of his battles with short area quickness.— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) December 12, 2018
He partners his quickness and pass rush moves to pressure the pocket.
(from previous two years) #NFLDraft #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/UNiyb52Ub2
A key asset for any pass rusher is having a backup plan. Showcasing secondary pass rush moves is essential in separating one’s self from being good and great. Granderson may not be coveted as a great pass rusher yet but he shows a theme of using secondary pass rush moves if his initial plan falls flat.
Granderson’s initial quickness is nearly vital in his pass rush sets, but it’s even more prevalent when defending the run. Showing explosiveness off the snap and with controlled pad level and an everlasting motor, Granderson is a load to defend in the interior run game. His lower body flexibility comes into play here with the ability to twist when necessary and then using his length to finish the play. Outside of his physical ability, Granderson shows consistency in vision in the run game. He quickly diagnoses the play to that of a linebacker and finds way to continually affect the flow of the play.
Back to back plays versus the run. Granderson shows the aggression and symmetry of his lower and upper halves to consistently make plays against the run. Motor always 💯.— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) December 12, 2018
Makes the stop on 2nd & 2 and fills two gaps and alters path of RB on third down. #SeniorBowl #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/ChNSkdNucS
Along with his quickness to attack the interior and cause havoc off the outside shoulder of the tackle, Granderson shows the long speed created by acceleration to make plays on the edge. He shows inconsistencies on setting the edge in the run game but does show the acceleration to make up for the mistake to at least evade the space of the ball carrier. He doesn’t boast first round change of direction skills but shows enough to unlock his hips and glide to the ball.
Granderson has the acceleration, highlighted by long strides, to eat up turf quickly.— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) December 12, 2018
Even though barely touched versus CSU, you can still see how quickly he can get from A to B.
Same with MIZ..doesn’t make the tackle, but hits second gear quickly. #SeniorBowl #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/MXslpwMw9I
After suffering an ACL injury after six games in the 2016 season, he stormed back to put together a 9.5-sack season and rewarded with a spot on the all-conference first team. Despite his lower than expected production in his final season, Granderson has shown glimpses throughout the season of a top 100 prospect. Though one week of extensive research from NFL personnel is not the end all be all for any one prospect, it can definitely stamp a vote of approval.
Granderson’s ability and work ethic should wow many in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and could be a leaping pad to being selected on Day 2.
Feature Image: Official University of Wyoming Athletics